As part of their Downsizing Government project, the Cato Institute recently released a video which handily sums up the sorry state of agriculture policy and the desperate need for reform.
Agriculture is a state-of-the-art industry that has left the average farmer very well off. Far from evoking images of characters from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, the average farm household income is 25 percent higher than the average U.S. household income. But a glance at agriculture policy in America is like looking back in time to the 1930s. Emerging from the Great Depression with a bevy of programs to administer, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) exists today as a middleman orchestrating a massive, multi-billion dollar transfer of wealth scheme. The USDA heavily subsidizes farmers, manipulates the market with trade barriers and Soviet style price fixing, and then subsidizes consumption of the very same products with government programs. The result is a system that forces taxpayers to pay billions in tax dollars each year to wasteful agriculture programs and to pay yet again in the form of artificially high prices for the food they buy.
Watch the video:
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal